New golf leader sets pri­or­i­ties

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Ex­plor­ing ways of en­cour­ag­ing vis­it­ing play­ers to Hor­sham and es­tab­lish­ing club sta­bil­ity are cor­ner­stone pri­or­i­ties for new Hor­sham Golf Club gen­eral man­ager and di­rec­tor of golf Paul Ri­ley.

Mr Ri­ley, who started in his new role on Mon­day, said he was look­ing for­ward to help­ing re-es­tab­lish Hor­sham Golf Course as a pri­mary golf­ing des­ti­na­tion be­tween Mel­bourne and Ade­laide.

But he added that at the same time the club needed to con­sol­i­date its po­si­tion with mem­bers and the peo­ple of Hor­sham district in gen­eral.

“It is im­por­tant to get the mes­sage out to mem­bers and prospec­tive mem­bers that the club is sta­bil­is­ing and will be com­bin­ing com­pet­i­tive pack­ages with a well-es­tab­lished qual­ity prod­uct,” he said.

“The club is fan­tas­tic and just needs tweak­ing and not some mir­a­cle worker com­ing in with a cape.

“It’s about do­ing thou­sands of lit­tle things well, steady­ing the ship and us­ing net­works, lo­cal and be­yond, to per­suade peo­ple to ei­ther con­tinue to come or come back to play golf in Hor­sham.

“Golfers trav­el­ling to Hor­sham from Mel­bourne or Ade­laide as well as re­gional play­ers will not only be good for the club, but also for the over­all com­mu­nity.”

The brother of for­mer Aus­tralian Open win­ner Wayne Ri­ley, Mr Ri­ley is a for­mer na­tional Sin­ga­pore golf coach who for many years has been in charge of Hong Kong Jockey Club’s golf­ing op­er­a­tions.

He has an ad­vanced sta­tus in golf man­age­ment with Aus­tralian Pro­fes­sional Golfers As­so­ci­a­tion and is a mem­ber of Club Man­agers As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia, Europe and Hong Kong.

Mr Ri­ley’s wife and two chil­dren will join him in Hor­sham next month.

He said he was ex­cited that the club, course and Hor­sham it­self had lived up to his ex­pec­ta­tions.

“At the mo­ment I’m just get­ting a feel for the place, but I’ve been im­pressed with my first look at the course and the club­house is beau­ti­ful,” he said.

“To have an au­then­tic sand-belt is also in­cred­i­ble and a rare priv­i­lege.”

Mr Ri­ley said a fam­ily mo­ti­va­tion to come to Hor­sham was to raise his chil­dren in a healthy en­vi­ron­ment that pre­sented a wealth of op­por­tu­ni­ties. “No dis­re­spect to Hong Kong, but in the Wim­mera the kids can get all the fresh air they need and there are more op­tions in re­gards to sup­port and ed­u­ca­tion,” he said.

“There are also fu­ture pos­si­bil­i­ties to buy a house. Hong Kong is ridicu­lously ex­pen­sive.

“My per­sonal mo­ti­va­tion is to try to ac­ti­vate the fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion I’ve done with the PGA, which in­volves man­ag­ing en­tire golf­ing fa­cil­i­ties in­stead of in­di­vid­ual de­part­ments.”

Mr Ri­ley said he would get busy analysing op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­crease the club’s pro­file, which would most likely in­volve en­gag­ing a va­ri­ety of de­vel­op­ment, busi­ness and sport­ing con­nec­tions across Vic­to­ria and South Aus­tralia, as well as the re­gion.

He also said the club would build on ma­jor events such as the West­ern Open in the first week of Oc­to­ber.

“We’re go­ing to make a big deal about these types of events be­cause they are, in fact, a big deal,” he said.

“The win­ner of the West­ern Open gets a ticket into the Vic­to­rian Open, which is no small feat and re­ally ex­cit­ing.

“The un­der­lin­ing key is to rein­vig­o­rate the club by mov­ing for­ward.

“This is not about de­tract­ing from the work of any pre­vi­ous boards or of­fi­cials – it’s not a com­pe­ti­tion.

“Ev­ery club around the world has to reinvent it­self at some stage.”

FRESH START: Paul Ri­ley is Hor­sham Golf Club’s new gen­eral man­ager and di­rec­tor of golf. He started in the new role on Mon­day. Pic­ture: KELLY LAIRD

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